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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Argentina : Pekerman selects 16 for Madrid meeting

Argentina : Pekerman selects 16 for Madrid meeting

Argentina coach Jose Pekerman has revealed the names of 16 players he will be meeting next Monday and Tuesday in Madrid. The list, containing some notable omissions, offers the first concrete sign of what Pekerman's final squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup will look like.

Of the 16 players called up on Friday, all but one are European-based. The exception is Boca Juniors goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri, who will fly to Spain on Sunday night after a key game in his country's Clausura championship.

According to a statement from the Argentine Football Association (AFA), the respective players' clubs had no objections to the meeting, which will not involve any physical work-outs or squad training. "The coach and his staff will take full advantage of the meeting to show videos, chat individually and collectively to the players, refresh concepts and assess the physical and medical well-being of those present," the AFA said.

Some sections of the country's media expressed surprise at the players not on the list, among them Javier Zanetti, Pablo Aimar and Martin Demichelis. However, several of these are involved in key end-of-season games with their clubs, and their absence does not rule out the possibility of inclusion in the final 23-man squad to be named on or before 15 May.

The list announced by Pekerman is as follows:

Goalkeepers: Roberto Abbondanzieri (Boca Juniors), Leonardo Franco (Atletico Madrid, Spain)
Defenders: Roberto Ayala (Valencia, Spain), Nicolas Burdisso (Inter Milan, Italy), Fabricio Coloccini (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain), Leandro Cufre (AS Roma, Italy), Gabriel Heinze (Manchester United, England), Gabriel Milito (Real Zaragoza, Spain), Juan Pablo Sorin (Villarreal, Spain)
Midfielders: Esteban Cambiasso (Inter Milan, Italy), Luis Gonzalez (Porto, Portugal), Juan Roman Riquelme (Villarreal, Spain), Maximiliano Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Lionel Scaloni (West Ham United, England)
Forwards: Hernan Crespo (Chelsea, England), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Spain).

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